In a significant development, the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (KUFOS) is planning to introduce mandatory ‘action research’ in the courses offered by the institute.
The idea has been suggested during the session on ‘Management and Social Sciences’, as part of the brainstorming session organised in connection with the Foundation Day celebration of the university.
“The experts who participated in the session stressed the need to introduce action research in the course work. The idea is to adopt fishermen clusters and to initiate a continuous effort to create awareness on various government schemes and supports available, with the involvement of students on a regular basis. In other words, model fishing villages have to be formulated and developed,” said, M S Raju, director, School of Management.
He said that students will have to keep regular contact with the adopted fishing villages. “The students will have to learn the different dimensions of the indigenous knowledge possessed by the fish workers. We are also planning to document the traditional knowledge of the fish workers,” he said.
Raju added that the initiative had the scope to bridge the gap between academic institutions and fishing community.
T Peter, secretary, National Fish Workers Forum, said a creative introduction of the action research has the potential to bring progressive changes in the sector.
“As of now, there is a huge gap between higher academics and the primary stakeholders, the fish workers. It is really good that the higher authorities are planning to initiate creative projects like this,” he said.
The brainstorming session on ‘Management and Social Sciences’ also decided to critically study the impact of several schemes of central and state governments in fisheries sector and to evaluate their impact since first Five Year Plan’.
Other identified areas for intensive research includes study of conflicts in the fisheries sector and its management, possibilities for evolving suitable marketing strategies to reduce the influence of the middlemen and brokers, a study on livelihood security issues vis-a-vis small and micro enterprises, gender dimensions in the fisheries sector and so on.
It was also decided to design and implement a website that act as a gateway for all kinds of information on fisheries sector. This website is envisaged as the nodal centre for the fisheries sector in India.